Site Selection Magazine is the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council and delivers expansion planning information and data to 48,000 executives. More than 50% of their subscribers are the highest level managers and executives. Each year, they issue rankings for Top Business Climate. Georgia has won four years in a row. This year, Georgia won for the fifth.
Governor Nathan Deal is now the only governor to lead a state to five consecutive wins. North Carolina, Texas, Ohio and Tennessee finish out the top five – Ohio being the only non-Southern state in the mix (if you want to count Texas as South). The rankings are 50% based on a survey of corporate site selectors and 50% on data. Some of the Georgia highlights from Site Selection – 86 different projects that are direct foreign investment that will ultimately create more than 6,000 jobs, Germany, Ireland and Italy alone are creating more than 4,400 and Asian companies are investing more than $751 million to create more than 1,400 jobs.
Talking with Site Selection, Deal emphasized some fortuitous timing on his part. “We didn’t know it – we were so consumed because of the Great Recession to remember the realities of that day. Sometimes it was difficult to look beyond that. Our policies looked beyond the recession. Admittedly, we did some things we had to do to deal with the reality of the recession – we had to cut spending, and that’s always difficult. But in the process of doing that, we were able to use that as a way to put in place policies that would sustain a resurgence.”
In a press conference today, Deal noted the cooperation that went into the effort. “By emphasizing strong partnerships on both the state and local levels, we have cultivated an economic environment that produces greater opportunities for hardworking people, generates investment in local communities and improves the overall quality of life for Georgia families. Our low tax burden and economic assets, including a robust workforce and unparalleled connectivity, lead the nation in attracting industry leaders from across the country and around the world.”
Site Selection Editor-in-Chief Mark Arend laid out some of the specifics for Georgia’s continued top ranking. Site Selection has a database of new and expanding facilities involving $1 million or more of investment, 20 or more jobs or 20,000 or more square feet of construction. “Georgia finished in the top five of most of the ranking criteria that are based on those projects, and site selectors ranked Georgia third in the nation in the executive survey component. This makes Georgia the state to beat for the fifth consecutive year, and it signals to our readers and to the broader capital investment community that Georgia competes to win,” said Arend.
Deal also announced an expansion of the HOPE Career Grant program. Beginning in January, there will be five new strategic industry programs training the current and future workforce to meet the needs of employers. The new fields include Construction, Aviation, Electrical Line Work, Logistics and Automotive Technology and are offered through the Technical College System of Georgia. There are now 17 total HOP Career Grant areas of study.
“As we continue building upon our strategic resources by investing in workforce development initiatives such as the HOPE Career Grant, we are ensuring that industry leaders remain connected to a skilled labor pool capable of meeting the challenges of today, tomorrow and beyond,” said Deal.